How to Start a Blog in 9 Easy Steps
Before you go into action steps for how to create a blog, let me cover some valuable facts. This section provides details on why you should start a blog and blogging 101 information.
Why are you starting a blog?
Do you want to communicate something, like a message or an idea? Do you want to build a community around your love for a cause? Do you want to keep your followers and fans updated on what’s the latest with your brand? Do you want to explain how your product or service works and why people should buy it?
A blog can help you inform, educate, promote and even sell, but only if you are clear about your intention from the start.
Hence, take some time to figure out your message and the purpose of your blog. In the meanwhile, here are several reasons why many people make a blog and enjoy blogging:
- To enhance writing and thinking skills
- To establish expertise
- To increase self-confidence
- To network with others in the industry
- To make money blogging
There are many ways to make money by starting your own blog; you can sell products and merchandise online or place ads and receive compensation from brands by promoting their products and services – considering that 61% of online customers make purchases based on recommendations from a blog, this could turn into a highly profitable endeavor for you.
Step #1: Select a perfect niche for your blog
Before you learn how to start a successful blog, you must first find your niche, figure out how to make it profitable, and figure out who your ideal readers are. In short, a niche is a topic that you write about most often, or even exclusively, in your blogs. Niche blogging is creating a blog to advertise to a particular market. Niche blogs are easy to monetize and they usually contain affiliate links, advertisements, etc., and that’s mostly how they become profitable.
How to choose a niche for your blog
To become a successful blogger, you will have to choose the right niche and work on attaining the highest form of knowledge within that topic. So pick the one that appeals to you—the one you are passionate about and most interested in. Strive for success, happiness, and recognition. By choosing the niche of interest and having your own point of view, you’ll be able to differentiate your personal blog ideas from the competition.
Step #2: Choose a blogging platform
At this stage, you’ll need to look at the best blog sites out there and determine the type of blog management tool you want to use. I recommend that you make your own blog using a self-hosted setup that I show in this guide. But before you ask yourself, how do I start a blog, let me describe each option. When it comes to popular blogging platforms, you have the following options: free and self-hosted (recommended).
Blogging statistics for top management platforms in the United States
For many new bloggers, the availability of free blog platforms such as WordPress.com, Blogger, or Tumblr is tempting.
By keeping your blog on a free platform, you let the platform own your name. You’ll be subject to their rules and restrictions. If you are looking to learn how to make money with a blog, they may limit or prohibit ads on your blog, or they may even place their own ads. If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll want to move away from free blog sites.
Step #3: Pick a domain name
Your domain name will be the name by which you will be known online, no matter what niche you choose. It’s your unique address on the Internet. Your domain will be yours as long as you continue paying the annual fee ($10 to $15 for a .com domain). Users who know your domain/URL (uniform resource locator) can simply type it into their browser’s address bar. Others will be able to discover you through search engines such as Google and Bing, so you definitely need to find a unique moniker.
Your domain name may be the highly popular “dot com,” or it may be country or niche-specific. The general rule is to go for a “dot com” domain, but some of the other extensions can work. For example, “dot net” or “dot me.”
Step #4: Get a web hosting
After choosing a domain name, selecting reliable hosting services will be one of the most important decisions you make. To a great extent, the functionality and performance of your site will depend on your blog hosting. The host makes sure your site is available 24/7 to potential readers and it’s where your files are stored online.
Most hosting companies also offer domain registration services. Some people keep their domain name with the registrar company, separate from the hosting account. I recommend keeping it all under your hosting account for hassle-free management and maintenance.
The wrong web host can cause many problems with your blog. Just imagine choosing a mobile company that has no reception. Your web host is a major piece of the puzzle to creating a successful blog; therefore, you must choose a reliable provider.
Based on our survey, a reliable provider . 99% of blogging experts suggest using it with WordPress.org.
Step #5: Starting a blog on WordPress
This section provides detailed information to help you sign up for the web hosting account and how to set up a WordPress blog. As an example, I will show you how to make a blog with Bluehost, and I included screenshots of the pages that you need to go through.
Step #6: Find the right theme (blog design)
The first thing your blog’s front end needs is a face (design and layout). You want to create an environment that is both eye-catching and practical. In the long run, you want your visitors to easily find information on your site. You don’t want visitors to be discouraged by the colors you choose or the non-intuitive and unpractical way in which information is displayed. Your design can cause instant distrust of your blog or immediate acceptance.
Start your search for a theme as soon as your WordPress platform is installed. The look and feel of your new blog rely on the theme you choose. Your readers will first notice the overall appearance, before even taking a look at the content. Choose a theme that looks great, but also works for your unique content needs. The default theme that comes with your WordPress blog installed is Twenty Nineteen—while it’s a good starter theme, you’ll want to choose a theme that is unique and compatible with your niche. There are more than three thousand themes available on WordPress.org.
Here’s a quick checklist for choosing your theme by searching within the blog dashboard:
- Read the description. Most themes come with a short description of features and functionality. Reading it can help you figure out if the theme matches your needs.
- Check for responsiveness. Aim for a responsive design that will work on desktop browsers and mobile devices. This is recommended by Google.
- Check the ratings. Star ratings will be visible in the preview and under theme details to give you a clear idea of how good the theme is.
- Preview the theme. Preview the theme (demo) to get an idea of the overall look, layout, and how customizable it is.
If you find a theme that takes your breath away, cool down. Once you install a theme you like, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t look quite right. It is just a skeleton of your blog. To make it appealing, you’ll have to fill in content (text, photos, videos, etc.).
Should you choose a free, premium or a custom theme when setting up a blog
For many visionary novice bloggers, the world is not enough. The stash of free themes does not satisfy their particular desire for the look and feel they are going for. There are two other options you can take a look at, premium and custom themes. But they incur a cost, sometimes a tiny one, at other times a considerable amount.
Premium themes are created by both single developers and dedicated showcase websites. The price range for single-use licenses ranges from $30 to $500, depending on which premium theme you choose.
Custom themes are created by an individual developer (coder and designer, or agency) who will either customize an existing theme or create a brand new theme for you. While coming with clear-cut advantages, they are not the ideal choice for a beginner blogger due to their high cost. Prices to customize a theme, ranging from $500 to $2,000, depending on the features you want.
Blog theme customization
Installing and setting up your new theme is quite exciting; these steps confirm that you made a good choice with WordPress as your blog management system. Remember, your Dashboard is the place where it all happens in the back end, including the option of installing your theme.
Once you login to your account, you are now able to choose one of the default WordPress themes provided by Bluehost. Keep in mind that you can always pick another theme from a WordPress.org repository.
After selecting a theme of your choice, you are now ready to log in to the WordPress dashboard.
Once you login to your WordPress dashboard, you will be prompted with the “Welcome” message and you can choose to accept the help provided by Bluehost for selecting the type of website you are about to create. Or, you can always do it on your own.
If you click on the Bluehost button in the left-hand corner, you will see the page with various tools that are designed to help you create your own blog. Click the “Launch” button and you’ll be seen online within minutes.
After clicking the “Launch” button, you will just need to fill the two most important fields for your site. The title and description, which will tell your future visitors what is your site all about.
Congratulations, you just learned how to create a blog. Your new blog is ready for launch, so get ready to learn how to blog!
Recommended tutorial: The Beginner’s Guide to Managing WordPress Blog (including Video Tutorials)
Now you should learn what it takes to customize your blog, make the necessary tweaks to make it stand out and please your readers.
Step #7: Write content and promote your blog
So far, you’ve captured a domain name, chosen your blog site and set up the theme, and you are ready to go. Your framework is complete. Now comes the moment of truth. You must learn how to write blog content – in the blogging world, any useful information that you bring to readers can be called “content.” It must be something people will want to interact with and come back to get more, something of value.
The next step is to figure out what content you need to make for your new blog and the best practices you should follow. Whether your blog is to be composed primarily of words, photos, graphics, audio, video, etc. – the content will be the bait that draws your crowd. Few will come just to see your new site.
Without great content, even the most well-designed, tightly-structured blogs will ultimately fail. The framework of the web is code – but the attraction of the web is the content found there.
Three things your content should do
- Your content speaks to a specific audience and provides value to them in some significant way. If this sounds suspiciously like our Commandments, you are right. Drill the idea into your mind and never forget it: It’s not about you; it’s about them.
- Your content should be easily accessible and attractively presented. Your presentation must equal the quality of your content. Here again, don’t cut corners on low-quality graphics or designs. Everything about your blog must attract your visitors and encourage them to interact with your content.
- Your content may be commercially purposed, but should never be commercially focused. Never greet your visitors with pop-up ads and giant banner ads. Greet them with content and reasons to engage with that content. Let them know you are there to help them, not to use them.
As a blog owner, you might get overwhelmed by all the available types of content and methods you can deliver it to your readers. You have to remember that the content delivery method is less important than the actual content and its quality.
Wondering how you can create quality content? It’s simple.
Here are three simple steps approach you can use to make great content of any type:
- Point. State your main idea and point you are covering.
- Prove. Give an example of the idea you are covering.
- Perform. Give a simple way to execute the idea.
There are two blocks you need to worry about, pre-launch and post-launch contents:
Before you start writing your day-to-day blog posts, you will want to make sure static pages (such as About us, Contact, etc.) and other parts of your blog (Sidebar, Footer, etc.) are filled with the suitable information. Let’s explore each of these content areas.
- About us. The most traditional page on any blog is the About page. This page tells new visitors to your blog what it is all about, who you are and why you run a blog about the particular topic. Depending on your niche and your style, the information you provide can be “all business” or personal and fun.
- Contact. This page allows visitors to your blog to communicate with you at any time. It can be a simple page with your email address plus social network links, or you can use a simple contact form that visitors can use to communicate with you without leaving your website.
- Sidebar content. Your sidebar is the smaller column to the left or right (depending on the theme you selected) of your blog’s main content. In the sidebar, you could include your blog categories, the most popular posts, ads, etc.
- SEO meta tags. You will need to prepare content for the SEO titles and description tags of each page (not seen on the actual page, but you need to have it ready).
- Blog posts. The blog post is an entry (article) that you write on a blog. It can include content in the form of text, photos, infographics, or videos.
- Cornerstone content. Cornerstone (or evergreen) content continues to be relevant to its readers and gives them value years after the publish date. It is always fresh and up-to-date. It remains informative and retains its original quality. As its name implies – it is timeless.
Recommended reading: How to Write Blog Content – Posts, Pages, & More
Content is not limited to written material but easily overlooked. It is often best to utilize numerous forms of content and give your audience more than one way to obtain knowledge.
Recommended reading: Types of Digital Content You Can Make
To produce quality content, you will have to use your originality and imagination. However, you have to understand that some content performs better than others. But again, you should start creating content that you feel comfortable with, right for your readers, and for your blog.
Start promoting your blog
You’ve learned that the content will be the bait that draws your audience. You can write the most compelling copy the world has ever seen and design a blog interface that would sell people their own shoes…if no one sees the blog, though, all your work is in vain. Marketing and promotion happen every time you engage with your current and future readers. The success of your blog promotion will depend on the ability to engage in your niche.
Let’s look closely at the advanced and straightforward promoting/marketing activities you could be taking to become an authority and successful blogger:
Let your friends know about your blog
Inform everyone you know about your new endeavor. You should include your blog name and URL in your email signature, list it on all your social media profiles, and use every opportunity to get the word out about your new undertaking.
Submit your blog to search engine
It only takes a moment, and it will help to get your blog indexed. To submit your blog URL to Google, sign in to your Google Account and go to the Submit URL option in Webmaster Tools. For extra credit, submit your site to Bing.
Submit your blog to bookmarking sites
Bookmarking sites can offer your content to a lot of potential viewers who are searching for content within your niche. You should do this every time you publish a new blog post to spread the word out. Some popular social bookmarking sites are Scoop.it, Reddit, etc.
Be active in your niche
Get active on relevant blogs, forums, and social pages. Blogger communities are a good way to connect with other bloggers within your niche. You can engage, build friendships and help each other in spreading the content.
Be active on social networks
Your business is unique, and you should make use of the social media avenues that best fit your own niche and style. Choose the one (or ones) that best fit your needs and become an expert at leveraging them to help reach your goals.
Comment on other blogs
Commenting on other relevant blogs is a great way to build relationships with top bloggers within your niche. This will help you make them and their readers aware of your existence as well as developing your personal brand within the topic.
Take the relationship a step further and offer to write a guest post for other websites. Just be sure your work goes on reputable sites and that the content is directly related to your niche. Guest blogging is an excellent way to build an online presence.
Start building your mailing list
Once your blog gains new fans and readers it’s a good idea to collect the email addresses of those who want to be notified of new articles and offers. As people come to know and trust you, they will respond better to your promotional efforts.
Advertising on the web (paid traffic)
Appropriate and well-informed use of paid media can help you gain exposure and attention before your organic (naturally derived) traffic takes hold. Paid traffic avenues include Google AdWords, and Facebook, to name a few major ones.
Recommended reading: How to Promote Your Blog and How to Increase Blog Traffic
Remember that you can always find other ways to promote your new blog. Rely on the blogging fundamentals: a clear and well-functioning blog, focused and helpful information, engaging conversation and practical advice. Your authority will come from helping and giving advice to other people, your fans or readers.
Step #8: How to make money blogging
Monetization is the process of translating your blog activity into earnings. You should keep in mind that blogging isn’t all about making money but instead creating useful content that will attract readers and make them come back for more.
After producing great content for some time and by engaging with your niche market, you will become a recognized expert who will be able to build a significant list of followers and subscribers. Only then you could consider adding content that will generate income.
Blog monetization channels
How to monetize a blog? There are several options from which to choose. You should use the ones that prove most useful to you:
Running ads on your blog
There are seamless possibilities for you to run ads on your blog. Regardless of your niche, you can opt for ads that are specific to what you are writing about or ads that simply better serve your advertiser’s purposes. Google Adsense is one of the most popular choices for ads.
Enrolling in affiliate programs
Affiliate programs are ways of teaming up with retailers to promote their products and benefit from successfully carrying out sales through a commission. Some things that you need to consider when enrolling in affiliate programs:
- The number of affiliate sales will strongly rely on the number of visitors you have.
- You need to be credible enough for your visitors to click on your links.
Selling your products and services
If you are more on the creative and entrepreneurial side, you may want to consider using your blog as a venue for selling your products and services. Use this advantage especially when your blog gains in readership, authority, and popularity. There are plugins that you can easily integrate into your blog and start selling, such as the WooCommerce plugin. It comes with product pages, cart, checkout, secure payments, etc.
Writing and selling an Ebook
Another great opportunity to make money is to gather existing content from your own blog and offer it as a downloadable ebook. Your ebook can be sold independently if your blog has a commercial platform (such as Bigcommerce), or it could be sold elsewhere. A great publishing opportunity is offered by Amazon and their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program.
Advertisers are always looking for exposure and are willing to pay you for placing a sponsored post on your blog. Those posts usually promote advertiser products or services and are a good way to earn some additional income for your blog. In the future, if you’re able to build one of the most popular blogs and become an authority in your niche, the advertisers would approach you to publish their posts.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to monetize a blog. Consider the possibilities, and then choose the method or methods that best suit you and your audience. As a minimum, you should – from the very start – begin compiling a mailing list of your readers through subscriptions. Then, when you are ready to recommend products, you will have ready access to those who want to hear what you have to say.
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